Penny was an essential part of my coming of age. She encouraged me to write. She demanded that I join my college newspaper staff.
Happy Birthday Penny
By Richard Mabey Jr.
On March sixth, Penny would have been 62, had she lived. Penny went Home to be with the Lord on the tenth November of 2012. She had lung cancer. She suffered terribly. Penny wrote me an email, just one day before she took her last breath. The entire theme of the letter was encouragement. Penny wrote me this beautiful letter, encouraging me to never stop writing. I wrote her back on the very same day she passed. I still wonder if she ever read it. Life is so strange.
To say that Penny and I dated in our youth, doesn’t really define it. Penny was my steady girlfriend from the start of my senior year in high school to the end of my freshman year of college. We both came of age, during that time.
Penny with my collie, Sunday.
Penny had long brown hair. She loved my collie, Sunday. It was one of the things I liked so much about Penny, she was so kind to animals.
I thought about Penny all day, this past Monday. At night, before falling asleep, I cried.
For my first two years of college, I attended a local community college. When I finished my first year of college, Penny graduated high school. Penny went to Rutgers University. She had planned on attending the same community college that I had attended. Her Daddy had different plans for her.
I don’t want to put Penny’s Dad down, but I don’t think he liked me too much. When I finished my first semester of college, I had gotten very good grades and made the Dean’s List. Penny was so proud of me. One evening, I was eating supper at Penny’s house.
Penny said to her father, “Daddy, Richard made the Dean’s List.” He replied, “well, it ain’t like the boy is going to Harvard!” That pretty much defines the way Penny’s Dad felt about me. It’s just life.
During my freshman year of college, I wrote for my hometown weekly paper and also for my college newspaper. One time, one of my articles made the front page banner. Penny showed it to her father. Penny’s Dad simply said, “well that’s nice. But it isn’t like the boy is writing for the New York Times.” I guess you get the idea.
Penny ended up marrying some guy she met at Rutgers. We kept in touch. That’s all I’m going to say about it. I dated quite a few women over the years. I don’t want to sound like a womanizer, but I was blessed to have a few close girlfriends. I came close to marrying, a few times in my life. But, alas, it was one thing or another and I never made it to the alter. I’m okay with it.
I miss Penny. I miss her a lot. It’s a long story.
Just before Penny passed away, she came down to Disney World with her husband, son, mom and dad. She wrote me that she was hoping I could drive out to see her. Disney World is only about an hour’s drive from my home. I wrote her back and told her that I would love to see her.
A couple of days later, Penny wrote me back. She told me that her husband forbid her to see me. That’s life. I would have loved to have seen her one more time. We both knew she was dying. Life just isn’t fair sometimes.
I guess I’m getting sentimental in my older age. I didn’t make it through this blog without crying. Sometimes life is not fair. Not fair at all.